Friday, December 04, 2015

Taking the long perspective

Where 'ya heading?
While the world's leaders meet in Paris this month to discuss climate change I've had the opportunity to write various blog posts for the environmental consultancy I work for, which has been really fun.

In one of them I wrote about the need for long term thinking in our decision making, and how this especially applies to situations which aren't obvious threats.

I'm sure we’re all familiar with the “fight or flight” response that we humans exhibit when faced with a threat. It’s been key to the survival of our species but could arguably be getting in the way of making effective decisions about the long term future of our planet.

Our ability to face immediate problems isn’t the same when facing delayed or longer term issues, such as climate change, since it’s not such an obvious threat as encountering a predator in the wild.
"I'm sure we’re all familiar with the “fight or flight” response"
President Obama identified that we need to switch our focus from the short term to the long term in his speech at the opening of the COP 21 conference earlier this week. He said:

‘For I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late.  And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us.  But if we act here, if we act now, if we place our own short-term interests behind the air that our young people will breathe, and the food that they will eat, and the water that they will drink, and the hopes and dreams that sustain their lives, then we won't be too late for them.’

Are your dreams stuck on the sofa?
For most of us, big decisions about climate change and government policy aren't what we face every day. But our fight or flight reflex can still get in the way of good decision making.

I should probably do more exercise, but at the moment I'm reasonably healthy so it's harder for me to motivate myself to do more.

Now, if I was to enter some kind of competition or race, then my survival instinct would kick in and I'd get down to some serious training!

It's the same with my eating habits. I'm pretty sure I eat too much, too often. I haven't weighed myself on the scales for many months, but for exactly the same reasons as above (ie I'm still pretty healthy), I find it hard to be motivated to do something about it.

If I had a health scare then I'd be much more motivated, or if I was giving up certain foods during Lent - my problem, and maybe something you face too, is that I'm far too easily on of off. I'm often either full speed or nothing.
"I'm pretty sure I eat too much, too often."
A familiar theme here in The Potting Shed is following our dreams and creativity, and this is also an area where it's hard to take a long perspective - without our survival instinct kicking in, without an obvious threat, we can merrily plod through life never fully engaging or pursuing what might really make us shine.

We need to play the long game...
So how can we help ourselves to take our dreams and gifts more seriously? How can we effectively play the long game, making regular good commitments to ensure we're travelling forward to the place we want to be?

Well, perhaps we need to turn our dreams into goals, and remind ourselves what's at stake if we don't achieve them. Or maybe we need to turn it into some kind of competition! Perhaps we need to get others around us, confess that our dreams are out of shape and commit to giving them a regular work out!

I'd love to hear how you take the long perspective - your hints and tips!

Or maybe, like me, you've got areas in your life that need some exercise - how about leaving a comment with a promise to yourself about what you're going to do about it?
"We need to confess that our dreams are out of shape and commit to giving them a regular work out!"


Thanks for taking the time to read Taking the Long Perspective. If you've enjoyed it please share it with your friends on social media! Why not subscribe to The Potting Shed Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher for expanded musings and much more (direct RSS feed is here). 

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My Random Musings

1 comment:

Random Musings said...

This is something I really need to take on board. I struggle planning next week, so long term plans are something I very rarely make :)
Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes